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August 2022 Monthly Challenge Game


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Wow, can you believe it's already August?! ¬†And guess what - that means Christmas is less than 5 months away! ¬†ūü§£¬†¬†For now, though, I thought we'd take advantage of these long, hot summer days (at least here in the States... it's super hot!) and concentrate on learning some new scrapping techniques. ¬†I don't want anyone to feel stressed out by forced learning, so I'm hoping leisurely spending a few days practicing one new technique at a time will allow us all to feel like stronger scrappers by the end of the month. ¬†Learning new techniques also allows your creativity to shine through even more!

Here's the plan for this month:  Beginning every Monday and Thursday we will focus on a different technique, centered around SG tutorials.  I will announce the technique, give you links to one or more tutorials that you can reference if you need them, and then over the following few days I'll give you a task or two each day to practice the new technique. If you're able to keep up, you'll end up with two layouts per week - 9 layouts in total, counting the last half week of August.  

But wait, there's more!  As extra incentive to learn new things, we've got prizes!  After each week, anyone who has completed one or both of that week's layouts will be entered into a drawing to win something!  A different prize will be announced each week, and each person will be entered into the drawing once for each layout they complete specific to that week's techniques (so two entries are possible per person each week).  Then there's the GRAND PRIZE:  At the end of the month, everyone who has completed ALL 9 layouts by midnight ET Wednesday night August 31st will be entered in a drawing to win a $20 gift card to spend on whatever they wish in the SG Shop.  Woo hoo!  

One of the difficulties I anticipate this month is that we use different photo editing software.  I myself use Photoshop CC (recently upgraded from CS6, so I'm still learning the differences), and I know a lot of others use Photoshop Elements (PSE), and then a few use other programs.  Most of the tutorials in the SG Blog center around either Photoshop or PSE, but if anyone has questions, feel free to ask in this thread.  I will do my best to answer the PS questions, and I'm sure others will be able to answer PSE/other software program questions.  Participation and discussion is highly encouraged!

When it comes time to post your layouts, upload them to the Hodge Podge Gallery, and then come back to this thread to leave a link. I'll track your layouts during the month.  Is everyone ready?  If so, scroll on to the next post to find out what the first technique is and what your first daily tasks are!

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Wasn't sure if we're supposed to post our progress so I thought I would for now. In the first photo are the papers I chose for my background. The green and ivy are both from AFT Blissful collection an

Agreed! ¬† And sometimes I can hear it laughing at our frustration...... ¬† ¬† Grrrrrrrr... ¬† ¬†ūüė°ūüė©ūüėĪūü§£ ¬†

Love learning new techniques in PSE Original papers and elements from Let the sunshine in   Blending mode to change paper color to match colors in photo

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Week 1, Technique 1:  Blending Modes

To start this week, we will be practicing using blending modes.  There are many different ways to use blending modes - to blend papers together, to lighten or darken elements/papers/photos, to add texture to elements, etc.  Below you will find several links to tutorials that will help you learn about blending modes, tips for using them, and where to find them in PS and PSE (depending on the tutorial).  If you've never really experimented with blending modes before, you're in for a treat!  They really can open up your creativity by allowing so many different options.  Here are links to several tutorials:

https://scrapgirls.com/all-posts/technique-tuesday-using-blending-modes

https://scrapgirls.com/all-posts/blending-modes

https://scrapgirls.com/all-posts/what-are-blending-modes

https://scrapgirls.com/all-posts/altering-embellishments-using-blend-modes

Ready for today's task?  

Monday Tasks, Week 1 (Blending Modes, August 1st):  

1.  Choose a nature or landscape photo to work with, preferably a colorful photo or a photo with pops of color (such as a few bright flowers against a background of green leaves).  This isn't mandatory, just a suggestion; if you'd prefer to use a different photo or photos, feel free.

2. Choose two or more papers that you'd like to try blending together for your background, and experiment with layering them one on top of another, using blending modes on first just the top paper, then using different modes on both papers.  When using blending modes on both papers, I think it helps to have a third, solid color paper layer underneath, but this too can be experimented with.  

I would recommend choosing papers that differ in color, texture, and/or pattern; solid colors are nice, but if you choose a solid paper try to find one with texture.  Plain white and plain black papers don't give you as much variety, although they go a long way toward lightening or darkening your second paper.  The number of possibilities seem endless when using blending modes, and it's exciting to see what pops up on your screen when using them!

We will have additional tasks for this layout on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, so don't finish your layout or post it yet!  If you'd like, you can post some thumbnails in this thread, if you find a blended look you really like.  And, if you have any questions, ask away.  :)   

If you complete one or both layouts this week, you will be entered into a random drawing for a set of Pocket Life Cards of your choice ($3.99 value). One layout will get you one entry, both layouts will get you two entries!

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Oh this sounds like a great month of challenges and learning.  Blending modes are one of my favorite tools :)  and have been experimenting with blend if lately (splitting the little triangle shapes on the blending layer in PS CC and moving them so they blend if dark or light with what's on top or bottom) 

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Before I post the next tasks, I'd like to share thumbnails of what I'm working with - first, the photo with two papers underneath in their original form; the green paper is from AFT Designs Eucalyptus collection, and the pink/yellow paper is from AFT Designs Spring Fantasy collection.  Both papers would look gorgeous with this photo on their own, but I'd like to blend them together to create one new paper:

1Aug-1.thumb.jpg.73d517a26f88f6c5bee9ada7e60e836e.jpg

Next, I layered the green paper on top of the pink (just a random decision), and used the "Difference" blending mode on the green paper; I think this turns the background into one, gorgeous, rich paper, although I'm not convinced I want my background to be this dark:

1Aug-GreenTop-Difference.thumb.jpg.ec6e03ab3e0201200deec47d13498f93.jpg

After experimenting, I ended up with applying the "Darken" mode to the top (green) paper; I like how the background now matches the leaves in the photo very well, but still shows pink through the green:

1Aug-GreenTop-Darken.thumb.jpg.b2313b3115f9828015f938c852a226db.jpg

Finally, I adjusted the saturation and lightness sliders on both papers until the pink showed through a little more, and both the pink and the yellow-green are brighter (you can do this in Photoshop by going to the top left task bar and clicking on the "Image" dropdown box, then "Adjustments," then "Hue/Saturation" and playing with the sliders on the different layers until you find something you love!). My final product (at least for now):

1Aug-GreenTop-DarkenAdjHueSatBoth.thumb.jpg.4955e362449607a509aaf35881d091f5.jpg

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Tuesday Tasks, Week 1 (Blending Modes, August 2nd):

1.  Once you have decided on your background, place your photo or photos where you'd like them, at least for now.  Remember you can change anything on your layout as we go along - the goal is to create a layout that YOU love!

2.  Choose one special embellishment that you'd like to work with for this next blending mode task, like a flower or a butterfly.  Try to find one that you like, but that does not have too much of a pattern on it.  

3.  Now choose a third paper to work with - or possibly one of the two papers you've already chosen might also work.  You'll probably want a paper that is complementary to the embellishment you'll be working with, but one that is textured and/or patterned differently.  

4.  This step is where you experiment, and you'll probably either love or hate it, but I still want you to experiment:  Place the paper over your embellishment in the layers panel, and clip the paper to the underlying embellishment (in Photoshop you do this by clicking Option-Command-G all at the same time, while the paper layer is selected in the layers panel).  Now use blending modes on the paper layer, and see what happens to the embellishment - you'll likely come up with different colors, and/or variations in texture and pattern.  Once again, if you find something you think you'll like on your layout, you can adjust the saturation and lightness of one or both of these layers until you're happy with it.  Here is the paper and flower I've chosen to work with; both are from Amanda's Eucalyptus Collection:

2Aug-FlowerPaper.thumb.jpg.b581e14283d44c96972caf6435a11187.jpg        

Now, the paper is clipped to the flower, and I've decided to use the "Multiply" blending mode on the paper layer; this allows the gorgeous texture of the white flower to show through, but also applies the pretty pink pattern of the paper to the flower (I've made this small and lower quality so that it can't be downloaded, but you get the idea):

2Aug-FlowerPaperMultiply.jpg.ab50531aee0a4089a9dc3e63e3c5281c.jpg

Now, off you go, and have fun experimenting!  Once you've decided how you want this special embellishment to look, go ahead and choose the rest of your embellishments for your layout.  The number and type of embellishments are up to you.

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6 hours ago, Mikelle said:

"Image" dropdown box, then "Adjustments," then "Hue/Saturation" and playing with the sliders on the different layers until you find something you love!).

If you use a Hue/Saturation layer mask and clip to that layer you'll be able to go back and readjust it if you want to tweak it. :)

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Wasn't sure if we're supposed to post our progress so I thought I would for now. In the first photo are the papers I chose for my background. The green and ivy are both from AFT Blissful collection and the white one is from BMU Embossed collection. I placed the green on the bottom and used an overlay on the vine paper. I wanted some texture so I placed the white embossed paper on top and used the multiply blend mode. 

papers used.jpg

For my embellishment I used the flowers from Amanda's Blissfull collection. The purple paper was a freebie from AFT. I cliped the paper ontop of the flowers and I used the color blend mode. I added a hue/saturation adjustment layer mask and I added a Gold/Blue Color Look-up adjustment layer mask, both of which I clipped to the flowers.

embellishment used.jpg 

And this is what I have so far. 

blend modes so far.jpg

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7 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

If you use a Hue/Saturation layer mask and clip to that layer you'll be able to go back and readjust it if you want to tweak it. :)

Hi Kelly, yes, that's a great way of adjusting the hue/saturation, or brightness, etc.  I learned to use adjustment layers kind of late, and by habit now I forget to use them! 

If anyone has any questions about adjustment layers, please ask, we can walk you through how to use them.¬† I'll find a tutorial for it later today, too.¬† This month will just be zooming from one technique to another!¬†¬†ūüėÄ

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1 hour ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Wasn't sure if we're supposed to post our progress so I thought I would for now. In the first photo are the papers I chose for my background. The green and ivy are both from AFT Blissful collection and the white one is from BMU Embossed collection. I placed the green on the bottom and used an overlay on the vine paper. I wanted some texture so I placed the white embossed paper on top and used the multiply blend mode. 

 

I'd love to see everyone's progress, but it's definitely not required!  I know it can be a lot of work to flatten your half-finished layouts and create thumbnails to post in the thread. 

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1 hour ago, Mikelle said:

I learned to use adjustment layers kind of late, and by habit now I forget to use them! 

Yeah I can relate to this! I took a Creative LIve class and the instructor kept emphasizing working non-destructively. So I'm trying to break my bad habit. 

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Wednesday Tasks, Week 1 (Blending Modes, August 3rd) :

Now let's try adding texture to our photo.  Here is a tutorial that uses blending modes to do this:  Adding Texture to a Photo    The tutorial uses an actual Scrap Simple Texture Template to overlay on the photo, but you can use any paper with texture and/or different blended colors or patterns.  The possibilities are endless!  Of course, there are also Photoshop actions you can apply to your photo, but in this case we want to explore our blending modes.  Here is my photo with 3 different combinations of papers and blending modes that I ended up really liking:

This version uses Ginny's Scrap Simple Paper "Enjoy" Texture 5 paper with Color Burn mode applied (Ginny Whitcomb = GWH; retired)

3AugPhotoText-ColorBurn.jpg.6bef304a7817f683f0a526732da3d05c.jpg

This version is more subtle, and uses Elisha Barnett's (EBA) Scrap Simple Paper Crafty Textures Canvas paper, with Soft Light mode applied:

3AugPhotoText-CanvasSoftLight.jpg.7385591204bde51660c02e4b1caf9243.jpg

And finally, this version uses a "normal" paper (as opposed to a Scrap Simple paper), a paper from Amanda's (AFT Designs) Crisp Air collection.  I really like this paper for the variation in texture and for the water stains.  The blending mode I used is Linear Burn:

3AugPhotoText-WaterSplotchLinearBurn.jpg.d4629bf9cdf385c1cd5be1c3751f8d21.jpg

Remember, as you overlay the paper on your photo, you can adjust the size of the paper, which will give you even more possible variations.

Once you have decided on the final look for your photo, go ahead and finish up your layout.  Add a title if you want one, journaling, a date and location, more embellishments and/or paper layers, etc.  Upload your finished layout to the Hodge Podge Gallery, and then come back to this thread and leave a link to your layout so that I can more easily track them.  Tomorrow (Thursday) we will move on from blending modes and start focusing on something else!

Here is my layout:  August Monthly Forum Game Layout #1

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7 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Yeah I can relate to this! I took a Creative LIve class and the instructor kept emphasizing working non-destructively. So I'm trying to break my bad habit. 

What did the instructor mean by working "non-destructively?" ¬†I have a feeling I'm a very destructive worker by contrast! ¬†ūü§£

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8 hours ago, H Keith said:

Love learning new techniques in PSE

Original papers and elements from Let the sunshine in

1640182243_sgaugforumchallengeoriginal.jpg.a4ebfab17f3541c707771ad136472d9f.jpg

 

Blending mode to change paper color to match colors in photo

1689682772_sgaugforumchallengecopy.jpg.fa8b921d94fc961a63ffd8b482114e39.jpg

This looks really good!  You use PSE, which I know is a little different from PS CC, but I was wondering what specific blending mode did you use?  I notice that the color was adjusted in all of your background elements, which gives your layout a monochrome appearance and makes the pinks and oranges in the photo pop, but I wanted to make sure that you deliberately intended to change the color of everything in the background. If you wanted to change the color of just one or two papers and/or elements instead of everything, using adjustment layers is a really easy way of doing that, like Kelly said earlier.  I'm thinking of spending a few days this month on different ways of recoloring elements... I'll find some tutorials on adjustment layers, if you don't already know how to use them. 

I just switched from Photoshop CS6 to Photoshop CC, and I'm still getting used to it, but I've discovered that using adjustment layers is even easier in CC than it was in CS6.  Hopefully I can find a tutorial out there for PSE, since I've never used it before!

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On 8/1/2022 at 7:47 PM, wvufan04 said:

Oh this sounds like a great month of challenges and learning.  Blending modes are one of my favorite tools :)  and have been experimenting with blend if lately (splitting the little triangle shapes on the blending layer in PS CC and moving them so they blend if dark or light with what's on top or bottom) 

This sounds interesting!  Have you posted a layout where you've done this?  I'd like to see it!

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Week One Blending

cap_PCDiamond_solid5;

CKH_SpritzOfSpring_TX_6

cap_timetogether_solid6 Overlay blending mode

ASD_MLB_PE1 with overlay blending mode

Photo  Darken blending mode

ABR_YStory_Paper_Floral3 using Luminosity blend mode on cw_FriendsForever_el18

ABR_SSP_BCreative_Overlay5 on photo with Hard Light blending mode.

cw_SwingingOnAStar_leaf1 and AFT Worn overlay used on green paper.

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5 hours ago, Mikelle said:

What did the instructor mean by working "non-destructively?" ¬†I have a feeling I'm a very destructive worker by contrast! ¬†ūü§£

From what I understand, working "non-destructively" means you are not making permanent changes that can't be reversed.   I'm not very good at using masks or adjustment layers (say "never"!) and instead for instance will lighten a layer/photo with the brightness controls in PSE.  (Enhance>Adjust Lighting).   I think that's considered destructive since once I do it - it's done and can't be reversed.  Except of course through multiple "undos" which aren't always possible.  April always said that's why you use masks and adjustment layers - so you can easily change what you've done.

Mikelle your monthly game sounds awesome and is so very helpful and instructive!  I've been reading along and wish I had enough time to play but I don't for layouts!

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15 hours ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Wasn't sure if we're supposed to post our progress so I thought I would for now. In the first photo are the papers I chose for my background. The green and ivy are both from AFT Blissful collection and the white one is from BMU Embossed collection. I placed the green on the bottom and used an overlay on the vine paper. I wanted some texture so I placed the white embossed paper on top and used the multiply blend mode. 

papers used.jpg

For my embellishment I used the flowers from Amanda's Blissfull collection. The purple paper was a freebie from AFT. I cliped the paper ontop of the flowers and I used the color blend mode. I added a hue/saturation adjustment layer mask and I added a Gold/Blue Color Look-up adjustment layer mask, both of which I clipped to the flowers.

embellishment used.jpg 

And this is what I have so far. 

blend modes so far.jpg

This looks awesome and I enjoyed reading along with your explanations. ¬† Made me think of Jody who was always layering blending modes. ¬†ūüėä

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5 hours ago, Mikelle said:

 @H Keith  This looks really good!  You use PSE, which I know is a little different from PS CC, but I was wondering what specific blending mode did you use?  I notice that the color was adjusted in all of your background elements, which gives your layout a monochrome appearance and makes the pinks and oranges in the photo pop, but I wanted to make sure that you deliberately intended to change the color of everything in the background. If you wanted to change the color of just one or two papers and/or elements instead of everything, using adjustment layers is a really easy way of doing that, like Kelly said earlier. 

It does look really good!   I use PSE 2020 and when I do remember to use adjustment layers I forget that you have to clip the adjustment layer to the element that you want to change.   Otherwise the entire page is affected by it! 

Mikelle this is a really helpful thread and game, thank you!

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6 hours ago, Mikelle said:

What did the instructor mean by working "non-destructively?"  I have a feeling I'm a very destructive worker by contrast!  

 

1 hour ago, MariJ said:

From what I understand, working "non-destructively" means you are not making permanent changes that can't be reversed.   I'm not very good at using masks or adjustment layers (say "never"!) and instead for instance will lighten a layer/photo with the brightness controls in PSE.  (Enhance>Adjust Lighting).   I think that's considered destructive since once I do it - it's done and can't be reversed.  Except of course through multiple "undos" which aren't always possible.  April always said that's why you use masks and adjustment layers - so you can easily change what you've done.

Marilyn's explaination is spot on. You want to be able to change anything you do. I just started using PS CC as well. Another thing I'm trying to use more are Smart Objects. I didn't use any on this layout but they are really great for working non-destructively. For example when I use a clipping mask for a photo and I want to use a blend mode I usually merge the two together because if i didn't the blend mode with blend with the black mask. If you click on both items and convert them to a Smart Object together you can use blending mode AND have the ability move or resize your clipping mask and/or your photo. I often forget about Smart Object but I do remember they are great. 

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Here is my challenge #1.

I blended2 papers (butterflies and text) to achieve the bg paper (darker colour @49%)
I blended the white flower with a patterned paper (linear burn @35%) then added it to Angie's cluster
I blended the photo with the textured paper (screen@32%)

I'm not sure the end result was worth the extra work. I think the blended flower was perhaps the most successful.
 

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Well for the life of me I can't upload my finished layout in the gallery. I have every which way to reduce the size. I did the same way I always do it. I even compared it to a layout I posted yesterday. I also redid that layout using my same method and I get upload that one again. I've closed out of everything and rebooted my computer. I've cleared caches. Before I reduce my layout I compared sizes. They are both the same size. However, after I reduce the image and save as a jpg the file sizes are not the same. The one I can post is 370.3k. The one I can't post is 9.8m. I just can't figure out how to make it smaller. I've tried different ways to no avail. UGH!!!!! Going to try one more thing.

Edit: I was going to try save for web but I don't think that's an option with PS CC phooey.

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On 8/2/2022 at 2:43 AM, Mikelle said:

 

 

Finally, I adjusted the saturation and lightness sliders on both papers until the pink showed through a little more, and both the pink and the yellow-green are brighter (you can do this in Photoshop by going to the top left task bar and clicking on the "Image" dropdown box, then "Adjustments," then "Hue/Saturation" and playing with the sliders on the different layers until you find something you love!). My final product (at least for now):

1Aug-GreenTop-DarkenAdjHueSatBoth.thumb.jpg.4955e362449607a509aaf35881d091f5.jpg

This turned out so cool, Mikelle! I'm hoping to get a chance to participate this month... and you are certainly inspiring us!

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35 minutes ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Well for the life of me I can't upload my finished layout in the gallery. I have every which way to reduce the size. I did the same way I always do it. I even compared it to a layout I posted yesterday. I also redid that layout using my same method and I get upload that one again. I've closed out of everything and rebooted my computer. I've cleared caches. Before I reduce my layout I compared sizes. They are both the same size. However, after I reduce the image and save as a jpg the file sizes are not the same. The one I can post is 370.3k. The one I can't post is 9.8m. I just can't figure out how to make it smaller. I've tried different ways to no avail. UGH!!!!! Going to try one more thing.

Edit: I was going to try save for web but I don't think that's an option with PS CC phooey.

That happened to me once, Kelly, and -- very unhelpfully -- I don't remember how it resolved itself. :(  If I can figure it out, I'll let you know. Meanwhile, have you tried reducing the quality from 10 (maximum) to something smaller? 

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38 minutes ago, ladyscrapalot said:

Well for the life of me I can't upload my finished layout in the gallery. I have every which way to reduce the size. I did the same way I always do it. I even compared it to a layout I posted yesterday. I also redid that layout using my same method and I get upload that one again. I've closed out of everything and rebooted my computer. I've cleared caches. Before I reduce my layout I compared sizes. They are both the same size. However, after I reduce the image and save as a jpg the file sizes are not the same. The one I can post is 370.3k. The one I can't post is 9.8m. I just can't figure out how to make it smaller. I've tried different ways to no avail. UGH!!!!! Going to try one more thing.

Edit: I was going to try save for web but I don't think that's an option with PS CC phooey.

This has happened to quite a few people lately.  My layout also did that. I find if I  go to, SAVE FOR WEB, and save as a gif file, it is small enough.  You still have to change the pixels from 300 to 72 and the size to 600x600. I use PSE 22 with Windows. 

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Thanks Diane and Belle. I’m not sure that PS CC as the option SAVE FOR WEB. I think I did try lowering the quality to a smaller size. I know I tried lowering the resolution to 72 but it still says it’s too big. I took a lunch break so will try again. 

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12 hours ago, Mikelle said:

This looks really good!  You use PSE, which I know is a little different from PS CC, but I was wondering what specific blending mode did you use?  I notice that the color was adjusted in all of your background elements, which gives your layout a monochrome appearance and makes the pinks and oranges in the photo pop, but I wanted to make sure that you deliberately intended to change the color of everything in the background. If you wanted to change the color of just one or two papers and/or elements instead of everything, using adjustment layers is a really easy way of doing that, like Kelly said earlier.  I'm thinking of spending a few days this month on different ways of recoloring elements... I'll find some tutorials on adjustment layers, if you don't already know how to use them. 

I just switched from Photoshop CS6 to Photoshop CC, and I'm still getting used to it, but I've discovered that using adjustment layers is even easier in CC than it was in CS6.  Hopefully I can find a tutorial out there for PSE, since I've never used it before!

The monochrome appearance was an accidental discovery.  The adjustment layer was the hue/saturation and did not clip it to a layer.  I later clipped it to a layer for a different look.

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